Press Releases

Purchase Opera Wins Best Opera Award

Date Released: 1/8/2009

The Purchase Opera's has won the National Opera Association's Opera Production Competition for Lee Hoiby's The Tempest  which was presented at The Performing Arts Center last spring.  Jacque Trussel, Chair of Opera and Vocal Performance Studies at Purchase received the award at the National Opera Association's annual convention in Washington, D.C.

"This is the fourth first place win in five years," said Jacque Trussel, Chair of Opera and Vocal Performance Studies at Purchase. "What an exciting time for the college and our department.  This award recognizes the outstanding caliber of our productions and the commitment of our distinguished faculty and our dedicated students," said Trussel. The production honored Mr. Hoiby's  82nd birthday and the composer was  involved with the production.

Jacque Trussel directed the production and Hugh Murphy, Conductor and Music Director of the Purchase Opera, was the conductor. Purchase Opera won in the highly competitive Opera Production Competition. To qualify they submitted an uncut, unedited videotape of the production that was reviewed by adjudicators and judged against scores of other videos submitted by others in the category.

Based on Shakespeare's last major play, The Tempest was revised for this production by Lee Hoiby in collaboration with librettist Mark Shulgasser and Jacque Trussel. Mr. Hoiby chose Jacque Trussel to create the role of Caliban in the 1986 world premiere production.  He chose Trussel again in 1996 to perform the same role in the Dallas production, which was nationally televised.  Hoiby has been lured by Shakespeare's stunningly rich fantasy world, and its compelling metaphorical comments about mankind, love and art. The result is an opera that lures the audience to this magical island "full of sounds and sweet airs that give delight and hurt not."

Trussel is an internationally renowned tenor who has performed leading roles with more than 50 opera companies throughout the world including the Metropolitan Opera, La Scala and l'Opera de la Bastille in Paris. His solo recording of scenes and arias entitled Sounds and Sweet Airs was nominated for a Grammy Award. As a director ,he has staged more than a dozen new productions in the U.S., and made his directorial debut in Europe with a much-heralded new production of Strauss' Salome. At Purchase College, he has directed nine productions including The Marriage of Figaro, The Merry Widow and Don Giovanni, as well as the four award-winning productions.

Hugh Murphy has been coaching professional singers for over 20 years, preparing them to record and perform with the world's leading orchestras and opera companies. He made his New York City conducting debut in 1995, and has conducted numerous regional opera companies.  He currently holds the position of music director and conductor with two New York City ensembles, Opera Semplice, which presents young professional singers in performances of standard operatic repertoire, and Apollo's Banquet, an ensemble presenting concerts of notated 18th-century court and theater dances to consistently high critical acclaim. He was the conductor of all three Purchase Opera award-winning productions.

The National Opera Association, founded in 1955, under the auspices of the National Music Council, seeks to promote a greater appreciation of opera and music theatre, to enhance pedagogy and performing activities, and to increase performance opportunities by supporting projects that improve the scope and quality of opera. Its membership extends to the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia, and Australia.